2014-10-01. Satellite images show Aral Sea basin 'completely dried'.

posted Oct 4, 2014, 4:55 PM by Alan Gould   [ updated Oct 4, 2014, 4:59 PM ]

For GSS Ecosystem Change chapter 1. Excerpt: ...Images from the US space agency’s Terra satellite released last week show that the eastern basin of the Central Asian inland sea – which stretched across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and was once the fourth largest in the world – was totally parched in August. Images taken in 2000 show an extensive body of water covering the same area. “This is the first time the eastern basin has completely dried in modern times,” Philip Micklin, a geographer emeritus from Western Michigan University told Nasa. “And it is likely the first time it has completely dried in 600 years, since Medieval desiccation associated with diversion of Amu Darya to the Caspian Sea.” In the 1950s, two of the region’s major rivers – the Amu Darya and and the Syr Darya – were diverted by the Soviet government to provide irrigation for cotton production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, starving the Aral. ...A lack of rain and snow on the Pamir Mountains has contributed to the particularly low water levels this summer, said Micklin. ...More than 60 million people live around the Aral Sea basin. The lack of water has devastated the region’s fishing industry, leaving ship graveyards as well as large areas of salted sand, which is easily kicked up by winds and contributes to health problems.... http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/01/satellite-images-show-aral-sea-basin-completely-dried. By Enjoli Liston, The Guardian. See also NASA Earth Observatory page World of Change: Shrinking Aral Sea.  http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WorldOfChange/aral_sea.php